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MIDWEST COMPUTER GENEALOGISTS 


NEWSLETTER 
www.mcgenealogists.org 


Volume XXIV 


CHRISTMAS TREES IN SMALL-TOWN AND 
RURAL MISSOURI, 1876-1900 


Glynna Elliott Morse and Julia Morse 


Whatever trees early settlers used for Christmas 
depended on what was available, whether pine, 
spruce, fir, cedar, or some other type of green. 

Going back in history, evergreens were seen as 
renewal, and Christians see evergreen symbolizing 
everlasting life. The tree used by early settlers in 
most parts of Missouri would have been the Eastern 
red cedar, which grew in the timbered areas and 
along some of the creek banks. 


Christmas trees in the United States began with the 
early German immigrants bringing their custom to 
the new country. Newspaper accounts demonstrate 
a general awareness of the German custom through 
the 1840’s. However, the American populus began 
to quickly adopt Christmas trees after Godey’s 
Lady’s Book in 1850 showed illustrations of Queen 
Victoria and Prince Albert decorating a tree with 
candles. 


President Franklin Pierce had what is believed to be 
the first Christmas tree in the White House, in either 
1853 or 1856. The custom of Christmas trees 
spread from the more populated areas to the frontier 
and the Midwest. For example, Laura Ingalls 
Wilder wrote in her book, On the Banks of Plum 
Creek, about seeing her first Christmas tree in the 
church as a child in the 1870s. 


In 1867, the St. Louis editors of The Missouri 
Republican wrote, “A quarter of a century ago, not a 
single Christmas Tree was kindled on this continent 
except by immigrated Germans. ... The greatness 
of the idea and the simplicity and universality of the 
form have made Christmas Eve a cosmopolitan 
festivity, and the Christmas Tree has taken root for 


December, 2020 


Number 12 


ever, it seems, in all the zones and civilized 
countries on earth” (23 Dec 1867). The good 
Germans of St. Louis had the Christkind (Christ- 
Child) ring a bell on Christmas Eve to announce 
that gifts had been left, but that same Christmas, the 
paper in Lancaster, Missouri confirmed a different 
custom already in place: “The Christmas tree at the 
Methodist Church on Christmas Eve was well 
attended and the children were delighted. The snow 
having melted on the road between here and 
Bloomfield, Santa Claus could not get here on his 
sleigh, but the distribution was effected by a 
committee. . .” (Lancaster Excelsior, 28 Dec 1867). 


By following newspaper reports from the town of 
Windsor, Missouri through the 1800’s, we can get a 
sense of how Christmas Trees were enveloped into 
the annual traditions in this part of the country. 


Although the Windsor Review began publication in 
1876, no mention of Christmas trees appeared until 
four years later (1880) when it announced, “The 
Methodist Church...will present the ‘Star of 
Bethlehem’ at their church on Christmas Eve night. 
This will be a beautiful modification of the old- 
fashioned Christmas Tree.” The next year (1881), 
“the members of the Christian Church Sunday 
School want to meet early and get through with 
their Christmas tree in time for the Cantata...” 
Throughout the 1880s, many churches mentioned a 
Christmas tree as part of their Christmas events. 


Schools also included a Christmas tree as part of the 
Christmas _ festivities. The Windsor Review 
reported, “There is to be a Christmas tree at the 
Stark & Brown school house Thursday night under 
the care of Miss Lottie Hatch, who teaches there.” 

(Stark & Brown school was a rural school in Pettis 
County, later named Maple Grove School.) In the 
next decade, the newspaper frequently mentioned 
schools having a Christmas tree as in this example 


in 1892: “Quite a nice Christmas tree was given at 
Sunny Side school house last Thursday night. Quite 
a number assembled to see what was going on.” 


Likely Christmas trees were already part of home 
celebrations but simply not mentioned as part of the 
social news about family gatherings. One example 
of a home Christmas tree was in the January 14, 
1897 edition which stated, “Bertha and Charlie 
Scott had a very pleasant trip to Vernon. Quite a 
number of memories of fine dinners, turkeys, candy 
pulling, concerts, Christmas Tree, etc. will linger a 
long time with them.” A January 8, 1898 news 
story described a party given by Mr. and Mrs. John 
Schweer, Dec. 29, to a number of their friends: 
“After refreshments were served the guests 
adjourned to another room where they were 
surprised to behold a large Christmas tree lighted 
and ladened with gifts for each was present. A good 
oldfashioned old folks Christmas was then indulged 
in which each again went back to the days of their 
childhood.” 


Most of the first Christmas trees in the area were 
decorated with items available at home such as 
stringing up popcorn or berries for garland and 
making ornaments out of paper. As railroads made 
manufactured products more widely available, glass 
ornaments began to become available in the latter 
part of the 1800s and began to appear on trees, those 
items being safely stored away to be used for the 
next year. 


Few of the newspaper articles provided much 
information about how the Christmas trees were 
decorated, but the 1892 description of the 
Congregational Church stated: “The tree presented 
a beautiful sight, standing at the pulpit fifteen feet 
high, trimmed with strings of pop-corn, glistening 
glass balls, and wax candles, and heavily loaded 
with presents.” 


The December 16, 1898 Windsor Review had a 
fiction story of a little boy who awakes to see a 
Christmas tree, “a Christmas tree two feet tall stuck 
into the middle of a bundle of wood. The light was 
reflected from a hundred pieces of red paper tied to 
the scrawny boughs, a dozen red and white popcorn 
balls hung like apples on the limbs. Little candles 


twinkled through the scant foliage, while barber- 
pole candy, a tin soldier and a jumping jack were 
prominently displayed.” 


In 1900, the Windsor Review editor described one 
of the business windows in town: 

“Haden & Jennings have a very pretty window, in 
which may be seen the much idolized Christmas 
tree laden with all kinds of fruit and various other 
things necessary in making a Merry Christmas.” 


THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER 
Al Morse 


When I first saw the name O. H. P. Miller, I 
immediately wondered what the initials stood for. I 
later found that they came from the name of a 
famous hero from the War of 1812, Oliver Hazard 
Perry. So, yes, my second great grandfather was 
Oliver Hazard Perry Miller. Most records show 
either O. H. P. or Oliver. He was born May 21, 1820 
in Franklin County, Missouri. At the age of 17 or 
18, he left home and went west to Bates County, 
Missouri. He married Charlotte Brians on 
September 30, 1841. 


They started in Charlotte Township but they moved 
to New Home Township in 1845 and built and 
settled there. He was well educated, skilled in 
languages, and familiar with the classics. They had 
nine children. The oldest was Henry Clay Miller, 
born in 1842, and the second oldest was William 
Barton Miller, born in 1844. William became my 
great grandfather. Oliver started a school and was 
the teacher as well as being a farmer. 


As the border conflicts between the Kansas 
Territory and the state of Missouri began, problems 
could always be possible. New Home Township 
was close to the Missouri-Kansas border. As the 
Civil War began, problems increased. They had 
cattle stolen in 1861. He wanted to remain neutral, 
but that put two sides against him. For fear of his 
life, he and his family moved to Henry County, 
Missouri. It was reported that their house was 
burned on Christmas Eve, 1861 by Jayhawkers or 
the Union Army. 


In the spring of 1862, Oliver and his oldest son, 
Henry, joined the Confederate Army. He became a 
quartermaster under Capt. John McCombs. They 
fought in the battle at Lone Jack on August 8, 1862. 
Henry was killed as was John McCombs. In the 
book, Battle of Lone Jack, by Joanne Chiles Eaken, 
Oliver and Henry are listed as being in “Units Not 
Known”. However, it mentioned that Oliver was 
later in Company B, 10th Missouri Cav. 


I am sure that, as Oliver traveled south with his 
company, he had a heavy heart. He was in the battle 
of Newtonia on September 30, 1862. He was 
captured and taken prisoner to Springfield, 
Missouri. He was put in Federal Prison and died 
there on April 30, 1863. The family returned to 
Bates County in the spring of 1866. They rebuilt 
their house and started their lives over again. 
Charlotte would have children of ages 5 through 22. 
William married Mary Elizabeth Woodfin on 
December 5, 1869. William was a farmer and also a 
minister. He served as minister of the Sprague, 
Missouri Christian Church. William and Mary had 
ten children. Child number eight was Alma Dona 
Miller, born October 28, 1885. She married Clark 
Frank Morse on January 17, 1906. They had four 
children. Their second child was Albert Frank 
Morse, born July 11, 1909. He married Mildred 
Catherine Janssens on November 6, 1940. Their 
first child was born January 3, 1942 named Albert 
Frank Morse, Jr. He is the one writing this article. 


Some of the facts mentioned in this article were 
found in History of Cass and Bates Counties, 
Missouri, published in 1883 or in History of Bates 
County” by W. O. Atkeson in 1918. 


THE SETTLERS’ CHRISTMAS EVE 
(Poem from the mid 1800s) 


Alice Cary 


Alice Cary’s childhood in the 1820’s and 1830’s on 
a farm about 10 miles north of Cincinnati provided 
her with firsthand knowledge of family life in 
remote settlements. She was one of nine 
children. Miss Cary later described the conditions 
in their family: “My father worked early and late; 
my mother’s work was never done. There was little 


time to study and had there been more, there was no 
chance to learn but in the district school house down 
the road. I never went to any other—not very often 
at that.” (The Hocking Sentinel, Logan, OH, 23 Apr 
1885). 


This poem “The Settlers’ Christmas Eve” appeared 
in a book of poetry Miss Cary co-authored with her 
sister, Phoebe, in 1849. In December 1866, it gained 
broad attention on the cover of Harper’s Weekly. 
We present it here, slightly abridged: 


In a patch of clearing, scarcely more 
Than his brawny double hands, 

With woods behind and woods before, 
The settler's cabin stands; 

A little, low, and lonesome shed, 
With a roof of clapboards overhead. 


... And do you ask beneath such thatch 
What heart or hope may be? 

Just pull the string of the wooden latch, 
And see what you shall see: 

A hearth-stone broad and warm and wide, 
With master and mistress either side. 


And 'twixt them, in the radiant glow, 
Prattling of Christmas joys, 

With faces in a shining row. 

Six children, girls and boys ; 

And in the cradle a head half-hid 

By the shaggy wolf-skin coverlid. 


For the baby sleeps in the shaded light 
As gently as a lamb, 

And two little stockings, scarlet bright, 
Are hanging 'gainst the jamb ; 

And the yellow cat lies all of a curl 

In the lap of a two-years’ blue-eyed girl. 


On the dresser, saved for weeks and weeks, 
A hamper of apples stands, 

And some are red as the children's cheeks, 
And some are brown as their hands; 

For cakes and apples must stead, you see, 
The rich man's costlier Christmas-tree. 


... The settler's rifle, bright and brown, 
Hangs high on the rafter-hooks. 


And, swinging a hand's-breath lower down. 
Is a modest shelf of books : 

Bible and Hymn-book, thumbed all through, 
"Baxter's Call,"* and a novel or two. 


A branch of sumach, shining bright, 

And a stag- horn, deck the wall, 

With a string of birds'-eggs, blue and white, 
Beneath. But after all, 

You will say the six little heads in a row 

By the hearth-stone make the prettiest show. 


The boldest urchin dares not stir; 

But each heart, be sure, rebels 

As the father taps on the newspaper 
With his brass-bowed spectacles; 

And knitting-needle with needle clicks. 
As the mother waits for the politics. 


He has rubbed the glass and rubbed the bow. 
And now is a fearful pause; 

"Come, Molly!" he says, "come, Sue, come, Joe, 
And I'll tell you of Santa Claus!" 

How the faces shine with glad surprise, 

As if the souls looked out of the eyes. 


... "And what will Santa Claus bring?" they tease, 
"And, say, is he tall and fair?" 

While the younger climb the good man's knees, 
And the elder scale his chair; 

And the mother jogs the cradle, and tries 

The charm of the dear old lullabies. 


So happily the hours fly past, 

‘Tis a pity to have them o'er; 

But the rusty weights of the clock, at last 
Are dragging near the floor; 

And the knitting-needles, one and all, 
Are stuck in the round, red knitting-ball. 


Now, all on a sudden the father twirls 

The empty apple-plate ; 

"Old Santa Claus don't like his girls 

And boys to be up so late! " 

He says, "And I 'll warrant our star-faced cow, 
He's waiting astride o'the chimney now." 


Down the back of his chair they slide, 
They slide down arm and knee ; 


"If Santa Claus is indeed outside, 
He shan't be kept for me!" 

Cry one and all; and away they go, 
Hurrying, flurrying, six in a row. 


In the mother's eyes are happy tears 

As she sees them flutter away; 

"My man," she says, "it is sixteen years 
Since our blessed wedding-day ; 

And I would n't think it but just a year, 
If it was n't for all these children here." 


And then they talk of what they will do 

As the years shall come and go ; 

Of schooling for little Molly and Sue, 

And of land for John and Joe; 

And Dick is so wise, and Dolly so fair, 

"They," says the mother, "will have luck to spare! " 


"Ay, ay, good wife, that 's clear, that 's clear!" 
Then, with eyes on the cradle bent, 

"And what if he in the wolf-skin here 

Turned out to be President? 

Just think! Oh, would n't it be fine, — 

Such fortune for your boy and mine!" 


She stopped, — her heart with hope elate, — 
And kissed the golden head; 

Then, with the brawny hand of her mate 
Folded in hers, she said: 

"Walls as narrow, and a roof as low, 

Have sheltered a President, you know." 


And then they said they would work and wait, 
The good, sweet-hearted pair. 

You must have pulled the latch-string straight, 
Had you in truth been there, 

Feeling that you were not by leave 

At the settler's hearth that Christmas eve. 


*“Baxter’s Call” refers to the book A Call to the 
Unconverted to Turn and Live by English Puritan 
pastor Richard Baxter (1615-1691). 


SHARING WITH SIBLINGS 
Marjorie Slavens 


My parents, Ralph Westmeier Slavens 1907-1983), 
and Mildred Marie Welty Slavens (1910-2008), 
were married on Columbus Day in 1930. My father 
was working in the mines in Waco, Missouri, and 
my mother had completed two years toward her 
teaching degree in Kansas City Kansas. They were 
married in Kansas City and moved to Asbury, 
Jasper County, Missouri, where their grandparents 
lived and where they met. 10 days after their 
wedding, my father lost his job. He was young and 
recently hired, and it was” last in, first out” during 
the Depression because there were not many jobs. 
They moved to Oklahoma, where they lived for four 
months with his parents and then returned to Kansas 
City, where they lived with her parents and he 
attended school to learn to be a barber. My brother, 
Everett, was born in October, 1931,and my sister, 
Beverly, in 1932. My younger sister, Carol, is eight 
years younger than I, so she did not share some of 
the early experiences with us. 


Everett, Beverly, and I all had retinitis pigmentosa, 
although it was not diagnosed until later. In the 
early ‘40s, a doctor in Kansas City told my parents 
to feed them more carrots and milk. We had some 
vision at first, but all three of us lost our sight when 
we were very young. Since I was younger and had 
the strongest vision at any given age, I learned very 
early to read for them. We had to have very strong 
light and magnifying glasses to read anything. We 
lived in Oklahoma at first. My brother failed the 
first grade because his teacher would not help him 
nor would she give my mother the material to help 
him at home. He and my sister were in the same 
grade after that year, and both were excellent 
students. When my brother received his Ph.D. in 
History from the University of Missouri in 1969, I 
wanted to look up that first grade teacher and invite 
her to the graduation. (By the way, barbering was 
not a very good profession during the Depression 
because a haircut cost 25 cents and a shave 15 
cents.) 


Our mother said a social worker in Pittsburg, 
Kansas came to visit her and told her she should 


send her two second graders, Everett and Beverly, 
to the School for the Blind in Kansas City. She did 
not want to send them away and talked to their 
teacher, who said, “Why would you do that? They 
are two of my best students”. They did not go to 
Kansas City. Beverly attended the School for the 
Blind in St. Louis for her senior year in high school 
and met many of her lifetime friends, including her 
husband, Don, there. 


I was in the first grade when they first had to deal 
with fractions. I could not understand ordinal 
numbers, so I read 3/4 as 3 over 4. When they had 
decimals later, I read the numbers with periods. 


Everett and Beverly thought I should learn 
everything they learned. They taught me all of the 
capitals of the 48 states from a puzzle of the United 
States they had. Of course, we could learn the size, 
shape, and location in the country of these states 
from the puzzle, except for the tiny New England 
States that were on the same piece. 


The summer after they finished the fifth grade and I 
the first grade, they had to learn the names of the 
books of the Bible at Vacation Bible School and 
recite them with the other children in their class at 
the final program. They had taught me all of the 
names of the books, and my brother volunteered me 
to recite them at the program. They were good 
teachers. (I cannot recite that list now.) 


My brother and I were at the University of Missouri 
together for several years. He received his B.A, 
M.A., and PhD. In History From the University of 
Missouri and taught for 38 years in two colleges, 
Junior College of the School of the Ozarks, now 
College of the Ozarks, and Ouachita Baptist 
University, before his retirement. I got my first two 
degrees in Spanish from Missouri and the third in 
Spanish and Latin American Studies from St. Louis 
University and taught in two colleges, Western 
College for Women and Rockford University, for 
36 years before I retired. 


Beverly went to a Business School. She worked for 
9 years as a dictaphone operator before she had her 


first child; she was an excellent mother of two 
wonderful children. She was also an excellent 
typist, and her boss thought he had the best typist 
because she rarely made a mistake. (I did not share 
that talent with her!) 


For many years, Beverly and Don have been active 
members of the Missouri Council of the Blind. She 
served for 20 years as Chair of their Summer Camp 
Committee, scheduling vacations for three times a 
summer for MCB members. She also used to 
prepare Braille menus for restaurants. 


I do not remember this story, but she told me 
recently that once, when we lived in Columbus, 
Kansas, and she was in the fourth grade, she made 
the highest score on her spelling test-a perfect 
score. The teacher let her go home early Because 
she got the highest grade. When she arrived home, 
our mother asked her why she did not wait for me, a 
kindergartner, to walk home with me. She had to go 
back and retrieve me. 


My sister, Carol, attended the University of 
Missouri, also had two wonderful children, and 
worked for 22 years in his local office for her 
Congressman. He wanted her to come to the 
Washington office to work but her husband worked 
here, and her two daughters were in school here. 
She is the only child my parents had who could see. 
She was the only one of us who could drive, and she 
was always there for all of mother’s major surgeries. 
Mother lived with me for 10 years, but, when she 
was sick and needed special care, she wanted Carol, 
a super caregiver. 


RP is a hereditary condition. It is a recessive 
characteristic which both of my parents had to 
transmit in order for us to receive the two recessive 
genes. The condition was not evident in at least 5 
generations before us and two generations after us. 
We were diagnosed with RP in 1947, when our 
doctor told my parents they should spend their 
money on education and not on doctors because 
there was no cure. I was told by a doctor at the 
University of Wisconsin Hospital in 1990 that our 
diagnosis by Dr. T. E. Sanders in St. Louis was a 
very early diagnosis. He knew Dr. Sanders and had 
done his Residency with Sanders. 


We lost Everett in May 2016. After he retired, he 
moved to Houston, Texas. While he lived there, he 
made three trips to Zambia with members of his 
church. He went alone on one of those trips. In 
Zambia, he taught courses on African American and 
African History at a seminary that had a relationship 
with his Woodlands Presbyterian Church. While he 
was teaching, he went to South Africa for a summer 
NEH Seminar for college teachers from small 
colleges. There, he also met Nelson Mandela and 
had a picture taken with him. He later moved to Las 
Cruces New Mexico, where he lived near his son, 
Doug, and his family. 


RECHECK YOUR FAMILY ORGANIZATION 
Julia Morse 


Last month, I was redoing a search on a family 
branch which I hadn’t revisited in a long time. This 
time, I found the treasure chest of the long-lost 
family story, unearthed and published online 
courtesy of the Christlieb-Chrislip-Crislip Family 
Association (christliebfamilyassociation.com) I 
must say, the story they published is AMAZING. 


My grandmother Martha Sykes Morse had passed 
on to our family some photos identifying her 
grandmother Eliza Christlieb and a hand-written 
paper listing birth and death dates of Eliza’s family, 
including Eliza’s father John Christlieb, born in 
1811. Through census records we learned that he 
was a carpenter born in Pennsylvania, but had not 
been able to link him with the many Christliebs we 
found in Pennsylvania. Obviously, it was a 
German Christian name. I knew there were a lot of 
Germans in Pennsylvania. That’s all we knew. 


One of the first compelling things I read from the 
CCC Family Association site was the statement that 
almost all Christlieb, Chrislips, and Crislips are 
found to be descendants of the two sons that 
migrated with their parents to Maryland in 1765. I 
had no idea. This meant that it was highly likely 
that my family was a part of theirs. I kept on 
reading. 


The Christlieb-Chrislip-Crislip Family Association 


site quickly took my breath away with the amazing 
and unexpected details they had compiled on the 
story of this family, starting with ancestor “Simon 
from Frankenstein,” a small village in a hilly forest 
region of the Rheinland on a trade-route to France 
in the first half of the 18" century. As a young 
Jewish man, he had made his way to the nearby salt- 
refining city of Bad Diirkheim. A 1742 letter from 
the Bad Diirkheim church to Count Christian Carl 
Reinhard of Leiningen details his petition to be 
instructed in the Christian faith and ultimately 
baptized. His baptism was attended by a great 
gathering of all the regional and local dignitaries: 
the Prince-Elector and three regional Counts and 
some of their family, the Mayor, other city officials, 
and the director of the city salt refinery. He was 
baptized with the new name Friedrich Carl 
Christlieb. ("Christlieb” literally translates 
as “Christ-love,” or possibly “dear to Christ.”’) 
German scholars tell us that the attention of so 
many dignitaries was uncommon at that time, 
suggesting that Friedrich Carl for some reason was 
esteemed. It is thought that he may have 
contributed a position of value related to the salt 
works. 


A couple of months later, Friedrich Carl married the 
widow of an official “salt weigher” in the refinery. 
He became stepfather to her existing son, and they 
had two more sons. 


In 1765, the family arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, 
only to find they had become the victims of 
swindlers, being asked to pay their fare a second 
time. Not being able to do so; the two sons, aged 16 
and 14, were sold into indentured servitude, 
(thankfully together) for 8 years each, in order to 
pay for the passage for themselves and their parents. 


By the time the indenture was ended, it wasn’t long 
before all the sons were involved in fighting for the 
cause of the American Revolution. 


The CCC Family Association site has additional 
deep research into Friederich Carl’s wife’s family, 
and then each of the sons and their children. It was 
searching through these descendants that I finally 
found the correct parents for my John Christlieb 


born 1811. 


This was a flood of information, and I still haven’t 
absorbed it all. There have been many lessons in 
the process, which I share with you here: 


(1) Information is always being updated. The key 
information that I needed from the Christlieb 
Association’s research has been posted online since 
I last searched on this family. That’s why we 
computer genealogists have to keep checking. 


(2) Your family name may not be as common as you 
think. My early assumption that “Christlieb” was a 
common German Reform Protestant name was all 
wrong. Most Christliebs in the United States are 
found to be descended from the same family that 
arrived in Baltimore in 1765. Similarly, most 
Morses in the United States are descended from the 
same family that migrated to the Massachusetts Bay 
Colony in 1635. Maybe there are other rare-ish 
family names that I am overlooking. 


In such cases, even if you don’t have the exact 
linkage to the root family worked out, if you have a 
connection to their geographic area, you may be 
able to narrow down good odds that you have the 
correct ancestral family, and can keep working with 
that hypothesis, while enjoying all the kinship with 
the association’s research on your family origins. 


(3) A family association is likely to have performed 
deep research into records not accessible online -- 
will and estate records, birth records, land records, 
church records, etc. Once I connected to the 
Christlieb Association root family and_ started 
digging through their family data, I found that they 
had researched and published data on Eliza 
Christlieb’s father John, including his county 
marriage certificates, (which I had not been able to 
find online) and census listings with his children. 

They had provided this research, even though the 
Association did not have further connection or 
contribution from John’s descendants. They had 
put out the information for us to make the 
connection. 


(4) A family association is likely your most robust 
resource for information on the Old World history 


of your family. There is usually someone in the 
organization who has travelled to the old home 
town, ferreted out the old church records, and 
sometimes made connections with descendants who 
remained in the area. Sometimes the family 
associations have raised funds for professional 
research, as was the case with the Christlieb 
Association. They linked up with key archivists for 
town records, as well as with experts in translation, 
as well as with handwriting transcription (very 
difficult with old German script, even for Germans). 


(5) Your family association usually can help link 
you to a family research expert who can provide 
direction or advice on your family research 
mysteries. For example, there are two editions of 
the Morse genealogies published in 1850 and 1903. 

They are currently not well-indexed and it takes 
some studying just to learn how to navigate the 
arrangement between families. Similar to a 
reference librarian, research volunteers within the 
association can assist you in navigating key family 
resources. 


(6) Family associations tend to have very 
professional research and presentation on what is 
known on the ancestral family—when they do 
publish it. The Christlieb site does an outstanding 
job of providing primary documentation, while still 
wrapping around details of the local customs and 
environment to help us understand the likely 
situations behind the known facts. I am looking to 
these presentations as examples on how I can better 
document and narrate my own family stories, (even 
the stories from other family branches). 


(7) Your family association needs you! The Morse 
Society is dangerously short on volunteers—so 
much so that they stopped their newsletters and 
website updates. The Christlieb Association is also 
concerned with declining membership. The current 
website editor notes that “most family organizations 
last only 5 to 7 years.” 


Although many people benefit from the research 
and publications of the family association, only a 
few people end up helping maintain the 
organization, its website, and publications. I 
originally was intimidated by the depth of 
knowledge of Morse Society researchers, but later 
realized that you don’t have to be a family expert to 
get involved. In fact, volunteering will get you 
better connected with the experts and available 
resources. It’s a great way to learn 





Note: We were sad to learn of the death of Mary 
Ray, our MCG member and Foxwood resident, who 
was very active in the state organization before she 
moved to Foxwood Springs. 


OFFICERS 


Al Morse, President 

Byron Gilbreath, Treasurer 

Marjorie Slavens , Newsletter Editor 

Julia Morse, Website Administrator, Digital 
Librarian